Re: Translations of Owner's Guides?

Subject: Re: Translations of Owner's Guides?
From: Jonathan Price <jonprice -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 14:44:48 EDT

True, most companies don't pay for the new writing I suggest. But they
should do so, at least for each major cultural area (Germanic, Francophone,
Chinese, Russian, Arabic, say), then do translations into local languages
from those. I think the customers would like this, even if the accountants
back in the home office object.
When I say "direct translation" I do not mean "literal," but I do mean
"close." I'd rule out things like Robert Lowell's Imitations, and the freely
improvised translations (really inspired commentaries) I sometimes get when I
give talks to Japanese groups, and find that the "translation" takes three
times as long as what I said, because the "translator" is bridging the
cultural gap, as best he can, with extra material.

About IBM manuals: yes, in general, these are not books we'd want to hold up
in the front of an STC competition. But there are some good ones (often
provided by outside vendors), particularly for the PC, and these are the ones
I had in mind when I said that direct translations of "good" manuals (in the
Western sense) fail to deliver what Japanese consumers need.
(Wrong structure, wrong style, wrong pace, wrong attitude toward hands-on

--Jonathan Price
Communication Circle
918 La Senda, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

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